Reaktor Builders Macros Project Guidelines v1.01 2009-Nov-30
Over a period of time the builders group members arrived at a consensus on topics that periodically came up. This is a guideline of some of the 'standards' we discussed. These should not be considered unbreakable rules but for many these were important considerations.
The first thing is the decision of what to put in to the set of macros in this project. Our target user is someone who has at least done the first few tutorials and knows the terminology. On a scale of beginner to expert we would lean more towards the beginner. For each project set we try to put in at least one fairly trivial example and usually progress in complexity to rather sophisticated examples.
Usually we start with an ensemble suggested by someone that is interesting and shows the feature of the macro topic. In some cases it is fairly easy to isolate the necessary parts and come up with a macro, in other cases it takes a bit of original work to do this, and in other cases there is something about the ensemble that works as a whole, but doesn't when broken into a smaller piece. In other words, some ensembles should stay in ensemble form and not be developed as a macro. One example we encountered was Lazerbrew - a fantastic reverb effect, but too big to make into a small macro.
When changing the ensemble into a macro, we decided that it was important to respect the original author's design decisions and not take too many liberties.
We decided that all the switches in the macro should be changed to selectors. The reason is that a switch causes a reset and sound glitch. We would like these macros to be suitable for live performance as much as possible. This is often one of the tedious and common changes necessary in ensemble conversion.
Wherever useful we want effects to have wet/dry mixers. Bypass switches are also useful.
We remove any panel or switch decoration and stick with just simple default knobs and panel elements. Sometimes we put a simple color over the macros in the final display ensemble to separate them, but this isn't part of the macro.
We use the small and mid size knobs only, not the large ones. This is mainly to be consistent and to save macro real estate space on laptop screens. Most knobs should have a mouse resolution of 127 unless there is a good reason for higher or lower settings.
The macros are named in this style: for example, a macro in the delay project may be called 'rb_delay_Delayer_v1.mdl' if the ensemble was originally called 'Delayer'. We start at 'v1' when discussing the macro and we may go through several version changes before releasing it.
The macros are released as individual files and as a presentation ensemble. The presentation ensemble may go through a great deal of discussion before a final form emerges. It is designed so that the user can sample the macros easily with no extra effort. At least one snapshot per macro is provided, showing a typical setting for the macro.
Most of the work involves documentation. Every terminal and panel element needs to have a description. Sometimes it takes a bit of effort to understand exactly what a panel element role is, and often the designer does not bother to write something up.